OWATONNA, Minn. (KTTC) – The Minnesota Department of Agriculture has confirmed Emerald Ash Borer — an invasive insect that kills ash trees — in Steele County.
A tree care professional contacted the MDA after noticing dying ash trees in Medford. The MDA collected a sample that confirmed it was the tree-killing insect.
Emerald ash borer larvae kill ash trees by tunneling under the bark and feeding on the part of the tree that moves nutrients up and down the trunk. The invasive insect was first discovered in Minnesota in 2009 and is now found in 35 states.
This is the first time EAB has been identified in Steele County prompting the Minnesota Department of Agriculture to enact an emergency quarantine to limit the movement of firewood and ash material out of the county. This will reduce the risk of further spreading the tree-killing insect.
“We have about a billion ash trees in the state of Minnesota, so we have the biggest population and the most to lose,” said Jennifer Burington, a plant health specialist with the Minnesota Dept. of Agriculture. “To reduce the impact that this insect has on the state’s ash population is to not move firewood.”
Burington says there are three options residents can take if they have an infested tree: remove it, treat it, or wait.
A total of 20 Minnesota counties, including Steele County, are now under a full or partial quarantine to prevent the spread of this highly destructive tree pest.
The MDA will take comments on the proposed formal quarantine through October 25, 2019, and proposes to adopt the quarantine on November 1, 2019. The quarantine limits the movement of ash trees and limbs, and hardwood firewood out of the county.
The proposed quarantine language can be found at www.mda.state.mn.us/eab.
Comments can be made at the open house or by contacting:
Kimberly Thielen Cremers
Minnesota Department of Agriculture
625 Robert Street North
St. Paul, MN 55155